In Part 1 of Stinnett’s Disaster Preparedness Month series, we discussed three important tips for building a successful business continuity program. This week in Part 2, we will focus on how to engage your IT team and promote business continuity awareness throughout your organization.

Engage IT Early in the Process
Did you know that 93 percent of affected companies without a Disaster Recovery plan shut down within one year of a data attack?

Disaster Recovery plans are an important subset of an organization’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Most organizations are dependent on technology and the technical applications for operations. Disasters like system outages, data loss, and ransomware attacks impact IT systems and subsequently affect the entire organization.

How long would it take your IT organization to restore key IT systems after an outage?  Would you lose critical data or transactions?

Since unplanned technology downtime can affect the company’s revenue, organizations should design plans for resuming critical information systems timely. The business units need to identify their maximum tolerable downtime for information systems. Include the IT individual responsible for applications and infrastructure in business impact analysis (BIA) discussions and continue to invite IT to all process meetings. This ensures IT will hear firsthand what kind of responsiveness the business needs and why. IT can then strategize and put measures in place to ensure restoration and response plans meet business needs.

Promoting Business Continuity Awareness
Promoting awareness and the importance of business continuity can be as simple as email blasts on current topics and latest trends, sharing stories from news sources about disasters and how individuals and organizations are affected and promoting Business Continuity Management education and certification for the organization’s Business Continuity champions.

An important step in business continuity awareness is training and testing. This includes department or company-wide tests and simulations, walkthroughs with Emergency Response Team members or table-top discussions. Maintenance and practice reduce risks and allow for quicker response times to return operations back to normal with minimal losses. If your business is not testing or exercising your BCP in some way, your business is not prepared. Testing methodologies ensure that effort spent on the BIA, plan development, and ongoing communication yield executable action strategies.

If you’d like to discuss a custom approach that addresses your organization’s specific risks around unforeseen interruptions, we invite you to contact Stinnett’s Business Continuity and IT Disaster Recovery team for a consultation.